Zsa Zsa Gabor, born February 6, 1917, was a legendary singer, model, and actress famous for her comedy films in the 1950s. After winning the Miss Hungary pageant, the actress relocated to America to pursue her career in acting. Originally starring in romantic and musical comedies, the actress expanded her repertoire to include several other genres such as sci-fi and action. She also starred in many T.V. shows and had an extensive list of talk show appearances throughout the latter half of the 20th century. Despite having many health challenges and legal issues, Gabor had an enormously long career and is still well-regarded today.
February 6, 1917
December 18, 2016 (age 99)
Zsa Zsa Gabor was born Sari Gabor on February 6, 1917, in Budapest in the Austro-Hungarian Empire before the end of the Second World War. Her father, Vilmos, was a Hungarian soldier and her mother, Jolie, was a jeweler. In 1934, she was discovered in Vienna while studying at a Swiss boarding school by an Austrian opera singer, Richard Tauber, who invited her to sing in his new production. Her performance marked her entry into the world of professional performing arts. In 1936, she won the Miss Hungary beauty pageant. Gabor left her home country with her sisters in 1941.
In 1952, she starred in her first of many iconic film roles in Mervyn LeRoy’s romantic comedy musical, “Lovely to Look At.” She also appeared in the smash-hit British drama film “Moulin Rouge” as Jane Avril that year. Towards the end of the 1950s, she began starring in films outside the drama and romantic comedy genres, including Orson Welles’s film noir “Touch of Evil” and the science fiction movie “Queen of Outer Space.” In 1968, she played the role of Minerva in an episode of the 20th Century Fox Television series “Batman,” based on the D.C. Comics comic book of the same name.
Gabor continued starring in many popular comedy films between the 1970s and 1990s, although most were poorly received by critics. In 1983, she starred in the third installment of Wes Craven’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise alongside Patricia Arquette and Laurence Fishburne, introducing her to an entirely new audience. She released her autobiography in 1991 and starred in an episode of the 1990s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” that same year. Gabor suffered multiple health issues during the 2000s, including partial paralysis from a car accident, two strokes, and a fractured hip. She passed away less than three months before her 100th birthday. Gabor married nine times in her life, out of which seven ended in a divorce, while one was annulled.
Tenor and actor Richard Tauber approaches Gabor to perform in his new operetta while she was studying in Vienna, marking the beginning of her professional performing career.
Gabor moves to the U.S. with her two sisters.
The actress stars in her first major film, "Lovely to Look At."
Gabor plays the role of Minerva in the T.V. series "Batman."
The actress makes a cameo appearance in Wes Craven's "A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors."
Gabor's memoir "One Life Is Not Enough" is published with the help of writer Gerold Frank.
Why We Love Zsa Zsa Gabor
She was charitable and an activist
The actress supported multiple causes, including the promotion of animal rights. She also worked for a homeless women's shelter and raised funds for an organization that supports low-income older people.
She was unapologetically herself
When conforming to conservative society was expected of women, Gabor marched to the beat of her drum. She crafted her narrative and character irrespective of what disparaging remarks critics and media made about her.
She was dedicated to her faith
Having two Jewish parents, Gabor grew up practicing Judaism. However, she found Catholicism closer to her values and morals and was a practicing Catholic until she died.
5 Surprising Facts
She had nine husbands
Gabor was married nine times, of which seven ended in divorces.
She escaped Nazi occupation
Having Jewish heritage from both parents, Gabor feared the Nazis would target them, so she escaped from Hungary and came to the U.S. with her siblings.
She wrote a novel
Gabor co-authored a book entitled "Every Man For Himself" with English romantic novelist Sheila Holland.
She bought Elvis Presley's house
Gabor purchased the late rock 'n' roll singer's house in Bel Air at the beginning of the 1970s.
A famous socialite is her great niece
Paris Hilton, the famous socialite, is Gabor's great-niece.
Zsa Zsa Gabor FAQs
Are Eva and Zsa Zsa Gabor sisters?
The socialite Magda and actress Eva are Gabor’s sisters.
What is Zsa Zsa short for?
The name is the Hungarian diminutive form of Susanna, the Hebrew word for ‘Lily.’
How did Zsa Zsa Gabor die?
She died of cardiac arrest at the age of 99.
Zsa Zsa Gabor’s birthday dates